Japan: stimulant epidemics past and present.

Authors:
M Tamura

Bull Narc 1989 ;41(1-2):83-93

National Research Institute of Police Science, Tokyo, Japan.

Japan experienced a serious stimulant epidemic during the period from 1946 to 1956 and has been experiencing a second one since 1970. Over the years, a series of drug control measures have been put into effect by the Japanese Government. In 1953, the Japanese police system was reorganized, centralized and made more efficient. Law enforcement efforts were intensified, supported by the criminalization of stimulant abuse with the enactment of the Stimulant Control Law in 1951 and subsequent amendments to it that were rigorously enforced, resulting in more arrests, indictments and relatively harsh penalties for stimulant offences, as well as an increase in the number and volume of confiscations. In 1951, 26 per cent of those arrested for stimulant offences were under the age of 20. About half of those arrested were stimulant-addicted. The number of arrests increased threefold from 1951 to 1954. The amount of seized stimulants also increased considerably during that period. In 1954, there were about 550,000 chronic stimulant users and 2 million ex-users. From 1980 to 1985, the number of stimulant arrests was relatively stable, levelling off at about 20,000 annually. About half of those arrested were recidivists. In 1985, a record high of nearly 300 kg of stimulants were seized. In 1960, heavy usage of sleeping pills among young persons began in Tokyo; this was considered a foreshadowing of a period of youth drug abuse in Japan. In 1967, there was an outbreak of inhalant use among young people; since 1975, about 40,000 people have been arrested each year for inhalant-related offences.

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Source
October 1989

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